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Invaluable Review

Sunday, April 14th

2024 Online Auction Site Reviews

Invaluable Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • Art and fine art inventory
  • Time bidding, live bidding, and buy now auctions
  • Find thousands of results in key searches
  • Return policies set by sellers
  • Rave reviews from customers

Invaluable is an auction site that has an air of classiness that perfectly complements the exquisite, often opulent pieces that you'll find on its platform. You'll quickly discover that Invaluable is not just another online marketplace; it's a sophisticated auction site that specializes in the sale of fine art.

Global presence and well-renowned

Established in 2009, Invaluable is headquartered in Boston, with a global presence spanning the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, and Australia. The company holds a distinguished reputation that has earned them recognition from prominent media outlets such as the Boston Globe, Art News, Architectural Digest, Tech Crunch, and the Wall Street Journal.

Start browsing by art category

If you've set your sights on collecting the works of a specific artist, Invaluable's artist directory is the best place to get started. You can use the site to explore a curated selection of artists whose works are currently up for auction. You can even trace the path of their art by reviewing previously sold pieces, giving you insights into the market value of their creations. For example, upcoming auctions at the time of this review included:

  • Asian art II
  • Gentleman's library (art collection)
  • Mid-century modern
  • 19th century and decorative arts
  • Street art

There are many others to choose from, but these help explain the types of art you might find during an initial browsing session.

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Must be a legitimate business to sell

If you want to be a seller, there's an important detail to be aware of: Invaluable has a stringent policy regarding consignments. Unlike the typical online marketplace, Invaluable doesn't permit individuals to consign their art on their platform. To be a seller on Invaluable, you must hold a legitimate business or auctioneer's license. If you're an individual with a passion for art and an inclination to consign, Invaluable suggests you reach out to one of their affiliated auction houses to explore the possibility of your art being accepted.

Three ways to buy

When you get to the shopping and bidding, Invaluable introduces you to three ways to acquire art. The first option is the timed auction, a unique experience where items are open for bidding within a set timeframe, allowing for absentee bidding. In a timed auction, the highest bidder when the clock runs out secures the lot. You can also choose to participate in live auctions, where you watch the action unfold in real time and actively participate until the item is sold. Finally, Invaluable lets you purchase items outright at their listed prices, providing a convenient route to obtain art without the anxiety of bidding (and potentially losing).

Competitive with common items despite art focus

The inventory at Invaluable offers categories from fine art and decorative art to jewelry, collectibles, furniture, Asian art and antiques, guns and firearms, wines and spirits, and more. Whether you're shopping for dainty earrings or a vintage 1931 Ford truck, there are plenty of items to browse at Invaluable. Given that Invaluable's primary focus is on art, it's unsurprising that a substantial majority of the items on their platform carry price tags in the range of hundreds to thousands of dollars, reflecting the value of the art they curate.

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Comparison results

Now, the comparison for inventory is a little tougher at Invaluable than at other auction sites due to the narrow focus. To compare the selection at Invaluable with other companies in this review, we used the same three search terms at every auction site. These are watches, autographed items, and iPads. This gives you a clear idea of how different sites stack up in terms of their inventory diversity. At Invaluable we found the following results:

  • Watches: 6,519 results
  • Autographs: 5,662 results
  • iPads: 0

While there were a handful of iPad-related items, it shouldn't come as a shock that an art-focused auction site doesn't deal in modern technology. But, considering the company's focus, we also checked the inventory for art, since that's the company's specialty. Invaluable offered 75,189 results for the category "fine art" at the time of this review, which is an impressive number of art pieces. Notably, this doesn't include inventory for "decorative art" or jewelry which are separate categories.

Best spot for art enthusiasts

It's no secret that Invaluable's specialization is art, fine art, and antiques. If you're looking to add to your collection (or to a local museum) you can find tons of one-of-a-kind art pieces at Invaluable. For example, you can find authentic items like an ancient Egyptian mummy mask or a 1930s oil painting. Basically, this is the stop for the pro or casual art enthusiast.

Returns are handled by each auction house

Like many other auction sites in this review, Invaluable serves as a platform for various independent auction houses and galleries. So, each auction house deals with its own policies regarding refunds, returns, and exchanges. These terms can typically be found on the item details page while you're shopping. However, Invaluable itself doesn't provide any blanket return policy or any indication that it will step in for you if there are problems with a seller.

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Impressive user reviews

While Invaluable may hold a "C" rating from the Better Business Bureau, this rating is derived from a single unanswered complaint on the BBB's website. The voices of customers who have shared their experiences elsewhere online paint a brighter picture. In general, Invaluable holds a 4-star average and receives plenty of praise for its high-quality auctions and unique art pieces. Testimonials reaffirm Invaluable's reputation as a trustworthy and enjoyable destination for art enthusiasts. While there were a handful of complaints like the one on the BBB page, they covered topics like frustration with photo quality or other small problems with the site in general.

Top option for art auctions

If you're on the hunt for timeless and invaluable art that transcends the offerings of ordinary stores, Invaluable is the platform for you. Their association with prestigious entities like Sotheby's, Freeman's, Bonhams, Phillips, Tajan, and others stands as a testament to their reputation and the high-quality, in-demand items they offer. As you explore the world of fine art, Invaluable offers impressive curated collections to help you sift through the art to find the perfect piece. If you're not an art fan, you might not find what you need at Invaluable. But, if you're seeking exquisite art that holds both value and beauty, Invaluable is a choice worth considering.

Where's the Best Online Auction Out There Today?

If you're on the hunt for used items or rare finds, online auctions can be the best place to look. Just a quick search will reveal tons of online auction websites designed to help you sell or buy a wide array of goods. These digital marketplaces serve as the perfect arena for individuals to trade everything from household products and furniture to antiques, electronics, collectibles, cars, and clothing.

Online auctions offer a distinct advantage by granting you access to unique products that might otherwise be hard to find at traditional stores. Whether you're looking for rare collectibles or a very specific item that's not on the market anymore, online auctions are the best place to go. With the potential to score incredible deals or sell items at a price that feels fair to you, there are tons of benefits to shopping at an online auction.

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Online Auction Site FAQ

An online auction is where people from any geographic location can sell and buy items on the internet. Some items can be purchased outright while others require you go through a bidding process to see who will pay the most for that product. Time limits are set and anyone can bid a certain amount of money towards an item before time runs out. Someone may or may not offer more money (outbid), so the price of the item continues to rise until the time is up.
Not necessarily To list items, browse, and create an account is completely free. The only money you'll usually end up paying is the cost of an item if you win an auction. However, there are a few online auction sites that require you to pay a small amount for each bid you place. Also, if you're selling an item, the platform you use may take a small cut of the earnings.
The sky's the limit when it comes to what can be bought and sold through an online auction. Just a few of the many categories you'll find include electronics, collectibles, toys, sporting goods, household items, and business supplies. Pretty much anything and everything you find around you would fit into a category of what could be sold or bought at an online auction.
At an online auction, you'll discover unique products you won't find anywhere else. Whether it's an antique or new electronics that are out-of-stock through traditional retailers, you can find the best deals. You'll be able to buy everything you're wanting and more from the comfort of your home. The best part is that your new and exciting products will get shipped right to your door, so you don't have to pick them up from a store!
If an item up for bid is running out of time, a soft close ensures that everyone who wants to gets the opportunity to put in an offer. For example, if you're trying to buy a luxury watch and place a bid in the last couple minutes of a live auction, another minute or so will automatically be added to the bidding time to allow for anyone else to bid higher than you. This prevents people from placing bids at the very last second and closing an item before someone else gets the chance. It also helps guarantee that the seller is able to get the highest dollar amount possible for the item they are selling.
Some auctions have bidding increments to prevent people from outbidding each other by insignificant amounts like a penny. It makes it so that people have to be serious about placing a bid because they are offering a reasonably higher price than the person that bid before them. For example, if an item is currently listed for $1,600, a bidding increment might be set at $100, which means the next bidder must offer at least $1,700 in order to participate.
Participating in an online auction is as easy as creating a free account on the auction platform and browsing the site for items you're interested in. Once you find something you want to bid on, you'll most likely need to provide payment information upfront and then you can select your item and enter the amount you'd like to bid. It's important to keep watching items you really want in case someone else outbids you and you want to bid again. If you want to sell an item, you will list it by providing a description of the product, a starting bid amount, setting a bid increment, and other relevant information.
The short answer is no. Once you place a bid on an item, you're locked into paying for it if you win the auction. Make sure you are always willing to pay what you say you will and that you seriously consider any purchases before bidding. Some auctions might get outrageous as far as what people are willing to pay, so be sure not to get caught up in the action if you don't have the funds to pay for an item. If you do find yourself unable to buy what you've won in an auction, it is best to contact the seller and ask if they will cancel the transaction and either re-list the item or offer it to another bidder.
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Continued from above...

If you're looking to sell, you wield the power to showcase your items in an online auction. You can rest assured that thousands (maybe even millions) will see your items, helping you get the best deal out there. However, what truly defines the charm of these platforms is the democratic nature of the bidding system. Anyone can partake by placing their bids, each incrementally elevating the price of the item. Once the curtain falls on the auction, the highest bidder emerges victorious, earning the privilege to claim their prize. This means you might even make more money on your sale than you expected if a bidding war ensues.

If you're on the other side of the auction - looking to buy, or simply an enthusiastic shopper in search of that elusive, one-of-a-kind item - you can tailor your choice of online auction sites to your needs. Whether you're looking for a vintage locket or the newest Apple Watch, you can find anything and everything on these platforms. Plus with low starting prices, online auctions transform seemingly unattainable items into tangible acquisitions that you could win at the click of a button. You'll have access to great deals and rare finds that you might not stumble upon in your local stores.

As you venture into the realm of online auctions, you'll find that not all platforms are created equal. The key to a fulfilling online auction experience is finding a platform that offers a top-notch user experience.

If you're not sure how to start narrowing down your options, here are some criteria to bear in mind as you browse:

  • User-friendliness. Look for websites that are a breeze to navigate. A clutter-free, intuitive interface, coupled with clear product descriptions and transparent auction rules, will help you have a hassle-free experience. After all, the last thing you need is to waste time learning to use a website while trying to explore items and place bids.
  • Product selection. The array of goods varies from one online auction site to another. While some may specialize in liquidated items, others may cater to antiques, collector's items, or offer an eclectic mix of products. The choice of a site should reflect the category of items you're seeking to buy or sell.
  • Reputation. Place your trust in well-established platforms with a reputable track record. Finding auction sites that are verified by the Better Business Bureau or those that have verified user reviews can help.

To help you find the best online auction site out there today, Top Consumer Reviews reviewed and ranked different platforms so that you don't need to worry about it. We hope that our reviews will serve as a compass, guiding you to the platforms that best align with your selling-and-shopping pleasure, so that you can focus on what's most important: uncovering those new and exciting items at outstanding prices (or connecting with buyers who will pay top dollar for what you have).

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